The Delicious Acorn Squash: Simple Tricks for a Tasty Autumn Treat
Autumn is here, and that means acorn squash are in season—delicious, versatile, frugal, and absolutely fabulous! But I understand that some folks find working with squash a bit daunting. With their hard rinds and those gooey seeds, it can be intimidating. Fear not, for I once felt the same way until I discovered a few tricks that will transform preparing acorn squash into an absolute treat.
Trick 1: Softening the Rind
First, for those tough-skinned squash, here’s a trick: pierce them a few times and pop them in the microwave for two to three minutes. You’ll find they become much easier to cut in half.
Trick 2: The Power of a Sharp Knife
Second, investing in a quality chef’s knife can make all the difference in your kitchen. A sharp knife makes every cutting task easier, including handling squash.
Trick 3: Easy Seed Removal
Third, when it comes to removing those pesky seeds, reach for an ice cream scoop. Its sharp edge effortlessly cuts through the stringy stuff, making seed removal a breeze. Armed with these tricks, you’ll soon see that preparing squash is not just easy but enjoyable.
Sweet or Savory? The Choice is Yours
Acorn squash is incredibly versatile and can be prepared to satisfy your sweet or savory cravings.
For a Sweet Squash:
Rub the exposed surface with butter, sprinkle with a touch of salt, and place a generous half tablespoon each of butter and brown sugar (or more, we won’t judge) in the center. Roast it uncovered, or experiment with flavors like maple syrup, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice.
For a Savory Delight:
Brush the squash with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and roast it to perfection. For an extra layer of flavor, consider placing fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, or oregano in the center, along with a pat of butter or a splash of oil.
ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
Yield: one squash or two servings Time: 50 minutes
What You’ll Need:
1 acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter, divided
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400°F degrees and arrange the rack in the lower-middle position.
Wash your squash. Working from the tip toward the stem, slice it in half. Scoop out the seeds and place, cut side up, onto a baking sheet or baking dish.
Roasting time may vary depending on the size of the squash. Start checking for doneness around 50 minutes. It’s done when it’s soft and easily pierced with a fork. You’ll notice liquid in the center; let the squash rest to reabsorb that deliciousness.
Taking It Up a Notch: Stuffed Squash
To transform your squash into a complete meal, consider filling the center with stuffing or your favorite filling. Here’s a master recipe you can customize to your heart’s content:
Mix and Match Stuffing
What You’ll Need:
1 to 2 cups of vegetables
½ to 1 cup of rice
½ to 1 cup of cooked protein
¼ cup of optional add-ins
While the squash is roasting, prepare your stuffing.
In a skillet, sauté 1 to 2 cups of mixed diced vegetables—consider onions, garlic, celery, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, or whatever you have on hand. It’s a perfect way to use up leftovers.
Add ½ to 1 cup of cooked white or brown rice and ½ to 1 cup of cooked protein, such as sausage, hamburger, chicken, or soy-based vegetable crumbles. Get creative with your last-minute additions like cheese, nuts, fresh herbs, or dried fruit.
Stir it all together in the skillet. When the squash is ready, mound the filling into the center and return it to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve your stuffed acorn squash with a flourish and savor the ultimate autumn comfort food you’ve just created. Whether you choose sweet or savory, these simple tricks will make acorn squash a delightful treat in your kitchen this season. Happy cooking!
ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter divided
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400°F degrees and arrange the rack inthe lower-middle position.
- Wash your squash. Working from the tip toward the stem, slice it in half. Scoop out the seeds and place the squash halves, cut side up, onto a baking sheet or dish.
- Add butter or oil to the open surfaces of the squash halves and season as desired.
- Be sure to add a little salt even if you're making a sweet squash. it'll taste much better, trust me.
- Roasting time may vary depending on the size of the squash. Start checking for doneness around 50 minutes. It's done when it's soft and easily pierced with a fork.
- You'll notice liquid in the center; let the squash rest to reabsorb that deliciousness.
MIX AND MATCH STUFFING FOR ACORN SQUASH
- 1 to 2 cups vegetables
- ½ to 1 cup rice
- ½ to 1 cup cooked protein
- ¼ cup optional add ins
- Roast some acorn squash according to directions in the Roasted acorn Squash post. While the squash is cooking, prepare your stuffing.
- Depending on the size of your squash you’ll want between 2 to 3 cups stuffing.
- In a skillet, sauté 1 to 2 cups mixed diced vegetables, such as onion, garlic, celery, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, practically anything. This is a perfect use for leftover veggies.
- Add ½ to 1 cup cooked white or brown rice.
- Next, add ½ to 1cup cooked protein to the mix. Examples are any kind of sausage, hamburger, chicken, or soy-based vegetable crumbles. Yet, another use for leftovers.
- Lastly, add optional goodies to customize your dish. You could add cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, feta, pepper jack), some crunch (nuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas), fresh herbs, dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots).
- Stir it all together in the skillet. When the squash is cooked, mound the filling over the squash and return to the oven for 10 minutes.